Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Truth About the Filibuster:Republicans Use & Need It

Hard to imagine that Senate Republicans would oust the filibuster (aka, the nuclear option). They've used it, and they will need it again. Of course, they may not need it during the Bush Administration.

If Bush intimidates and blackmails Republicans into using this "nuclear option" (meaning doing away with the filibuster), he will again be demonstrating that he doesn't give a damn about our country, Americans or his own party once he leaves office.
From the Center for American Progress....

As radical right-wingers in Congress continue to tee off against federal judges, the Senate is considering moving forward with the "nuclear option" for confirming the president's judicial nominees. The tactic, which would eliminate the judicial filibuster, would end years of tradition, create even more rancor in an already divisive Senate and, ultimately, would likely lead to more radical judicial nominees.

The right-wing is wrong when it says judicial filibusters are unconstitutional. In fact, despite what Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says, there is nothing in the Constitution that requires the Senate to "confirm or reject appointments by a simply majority vote." Frist and other Republican senators-many of whom are usually strict constructionists-should know that the Appointments Clause of the Constitution requires the consent of the Senate on judges and empowers the Senate to determine the method of this consent.

Frist and his allies are wrong when they say judicial filibusters are unprecedented. In 1968, Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block President Johnson's nomination of Abe Fortas to be chief justice of the Supreme Court. More recently, Senator Frist himself took part in a judicial filibuster. In 2000, Frist participated in the filibuster of Richard Paez, President Clinton's nominee to the Ninth Circuit. Records show that the right-wing led at least six judicial filibusters during the Clinton years.

Many of the president's judicial nominees are out of step with the American people. If President Bush truly wants to have more of his judges confirmed, he could nominate better candidates. As Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) recently said, President Bush would be wise to "pick up the phone" and consult with Democrats on judges, noting that when it comes to judges, "there is a much broader base in America than the far right."

No comments: